Vík - Eldhraun - Kirkjubæjarklaustur - Skaftafell - Iceland

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Today we drive from the region of Vík to the region of Skaftafell. The distance as the bird flies is about 120 kilometers, but the real distance is a little bit greater.
Along the way we stop at several places to watch the Eldhraun. The Eldhraun lava field has a thickness of about 12 meters and is completely overgrown with moss. The lava ended up in Eldhraun during the 1783 eruption of Laki.
The area suits itself perfectly for taking pictures. There is a road (204) all the way around it, but halfway there is a road that takes you to the center of this moss overgrown lava field.

Suddenly stone cairns show up on the side of the road. We have arrived at Laufskálavarða. By many travelers hundreds of cairns have been erected in the hope of a safe crossing of the sandur. Of course we contributed our stone. Besides the cairns this parking area has great views of the Katla, the de Mýrdalsjökull and the Kötlujökull. The Katla gets it's name from a witch that, according to legend, owned a pair of trousers that would let her run without getting tired. If a sheep was still in the mountains, the villagers would ask Katla to get it. She would pot on the trousers and ran for days to find the sheep. One day a villager put on the trousers and ran into the mountains to find a sheep. Katla got so angry that she drowned Bardi in a barrel of water. When the end of winter approached Katla heard a voice saying that the ghost of Bardi would soon appear. When the ghost actually appeared, she put on the trousers and ran up the volcano. She threw herself into a gorge and made the volcano erupt. The eruption caused a big flood in which several villages were lost. The destruction can still be seen in the Mýrdalssandur, a large barren plain of pebbles. The Katla erupts about every 80 years and is on of the most dangerous volcanoes on Iceland.

Further up the road is Kirkjubæjarklaustur. A small village with a supermarket, and where Kirkjugólf is. A large number of basalt columns lying in the ground. Because the basalt columns are even with the ground, people believed for years that this Kirkjugólf was created by human hands. Actually these columns are much older and are worn down by glacier ice and sea water.

Across the outwash plain/sandur of the Síðujökull an the Skeiðarárjökull we drive towards Skaftafell. The outwash plain was created by a volcanic eruption below the glacier which caused lots of water and debris to flow with great violence towards the ocean. Anything in it's path was destroyed. The bridge built in the plain is one of the last bridges constructed in the ring. It's a long, narrow steel bridge with spaces here an there to let oncoming traffic pass. Further up the road there is a viewpoint where 2 steel columns of the previous bridge clearly show the forces involved in creating a sandur. On this parking area there is additional informaton about the frequency and intensity of the eruptions of the volcanoes on the southside of Iceland.
We spend the night in the area of Öræfi.
Near Öræfi there is a farmer who drives his tractor every day, except sunday, full of tourists to the island of Ingólfshöfði. Ingólfshöfði is known for it's many different species of birds, among which the Puffin. Outside of the season the farmer only drives at 12 o'clock which wasn't a suitable time for us. In the high season he drives to the island more frequently.

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